Media Tabloid, False Narrative, Pattern of Ridiculousness?
By Paul Truong
A few days before the US won the historic Gold medal at the 2016 Baku Chess Olympiad, Susan Polgar wrote a piece about the history of Chess Olympiad and the current team (https://chessdailynews.com/on-the-verge-of-huge-history-in-baku). She clearly set the record that 4 of the 5 members (Caruana, Nakamura, Shankland, and Robson) of the US team are born US citizen and 1 (So) developed his world class talent in the US.
But that did not stop the media and a number of other people from attacking and demeaning the US team and its members, calling them “Imported Talent” or the “Best Team Money Can Buy”. Give me a damn break. When the US finally becomes a major chess powerhouse, excuses are immediately given as to why the US won: Money! They want the world to think that our success comes from “buying talent”. What a piece of crap!
Again, let’s set the record straight! Caruana was born in the US. He grew up in the US. He does not speak Italian, at least not fluently. I do not believe that he even lived in Italy. But he moved to Europe as a teen to be able to play in strong events and train with serious trainers. For a period of time, he played for Italy, where his family was originally from. So what? He is an American born and kudos to Mr. Sinquefield for being able to incentivize him to move back to the US.
Nakamura’s Mom is American. He moved to the US as a baby and learned chess in the US. He, just like Caruana, is as American as it gets. Robson was born in Guam, a US territory, and his father is American. He lived most of his life in Florida until he moved to St. Louis in August 2012 to study at Webster University.
So the only question is So. He was around 2650 (he could not break through to advance beyond this level) when he moved to the US in August 2012 to study at Webster University. At that time, his rating was exactly 2652, hardly the strength to power to US team to prominence. He developed his skill at Webster University and broke into the top 10 in November 2014 with a rating of 2762. He consistently remained in the top 10 and on the verge of breaking into the top 5 in the world. He is a Permanent Resident of the US and has a Green Card. He will soon be able to become a US citizen.
Isn’t it strange when no one complained or talked about Kamsky, Alburt, Dzindzichashvili, Shabalov, Onischuk, Gulko, Ibragimov, or Lein, etc. when they represented the US over the years? Why is it an issue now? Because the US won with home grown talent? I call this media tabloid and pattern of ridiculousness. There are teams in the recent Olympiad where most or ALL members of the team were NOT born in the country they represent. How come no one talked about it? In fact, many countries have players from elsewhere.
The US has a very strong young team. And with powerful college chess programs like Webster University and others, as well as young homegrown talent like Jefferey Xiong, Daniel Naroditsky, Sam Sevian, and Ruifeng Li, the future of American chess looks bright.
Congratulations to team USA! I am proud of all of them!
Here is an excerpt from Wesley So’s Mom, Leny So, on Facebook:
William and I watched the World Chess Olympiad here in Canada. I am very thankful and grateful to Susan Polgar for all the help and guidance. When I noticed that my son needs help in his chess career, the only person that comes to my mind was Susan Polgar. Her invitation for my son to come to U.S. and study at Webster University produced one of the best chess players in the world. Congratulations to U.S team and to my son, whom we dearly missed.
Susan’s previous article:
The US is on the verge of wining Olympiad Gold! They are controlling their own destiny. But let’s take a look at the history of the Chess Olympiad.
Therefore, it would be so big if the US could win Gold in 2016 with Fabiano Caruana (started his chess career in my Chess Club in New York in May 1998), Hakaru Nakamura (participated in my Mayor’s Cup Invitational in June 2001), Wesley So (trained at Webster University – SPICE for more than 2 years – Went from #99 in the world 2652 to #10 2762 in a little more than 2 years), Sam Shankland, and Ray Robson (still at Webster University = SPICE – Went from 2599 to 2680).
This is an exciting time for US Chess with the performance of US team in Baku, and the upcoming World Championship in New York City between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin.